Why the World is Crazy (leaflet)
For thousands of years, religions have told us “love your neighbor,” and most of us have tried that. Nevertheless war, poverty, and other cruelties continue, recently magnified by modern technology. Soon we may all die by nuclear war, runaway warming, or a plague released by some suicidal scientist.
The unkindness all around us is not in our nature. It is in our culture, which we can change. Our efforts for a better world are subverted by hierarchy and property, institutions that we mistakenly accept as normal.
Hierarchy — including so-called “representative democracy” — concentrates power. Power corrupts, as the Stanford Prison Experiment proved. We see it at every level: Authoritarians beat their children, men abuse women, bosses bully workers, guards torture inmates, whites lynch colors, and police shoot the unarmed. The rich and powerful start wars to make themselves richer, and lie to cover it up – yet we honor them with statues; we suffer from a national Stockholm syndrome. The solution is to replace hierarchical coercion with horizontal networking, throughout all our activities.
Property, too, concentrates power. Trade increases inequality, which is now enormous; Gilens and Page proved we are ruled by the rich. Corporations don’t pay for externalities, unmeasured side effects of trade, including war, poverty, and the collapse of the ecosystem, which is coming bigger and faster than most people understand. Our jobs lack meaning; that’s why we hate Mondays. We can’t care about others while competing against them. Lonely selfishness is not superficial corruption that can be reformed away; rather, it is the basis of our economic system and our whole way of life.
But we’re all alike inside, so look within to see the better world that is possible. We’ll be made safe by a culture of caring and sharing that leaves no one behind, so no one wants to hurt us. The first step is to get more people talking about it.